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Chapter 30

Hermione’s Woe


“Where are you going now?” Ron asked Harry after the classroom had emptied. Hermione was putting the new signed parchment away in her bag.

“I’m supposed to meet Veronica in about 10 minutes,” Harry replied as the trio began to walk back to Gryffindor, “but I need to get my invisibility cloak.” Harry could tell that Hermione didn’t approve of the fact that he was planning on staying out past curfew, but he was glad when she didn’t say anything. He asked Ron to stay outside and help him get out. He raced to his room, and came back out under the invisibility cloak, avoiding bumping into anyone. When the portrait door opened, Ron entered as Harry left. Harry raced to meet Veronica by the staircases, where they had agreed to meet.

“Pssst. Over here,” Harry whispered and Veronica looked around trying to find him.

“Harry?” She felt a hand grab her own and she was pulled behind a statue.

“In here,” said Harry as he pulled the invisibility cloak open. Veronica looked surprised and grinned as she huddled next to him and Harry wrapped the cloak around the two of them.

“This is amazing!” said Veronica in an excited whisper. “Where did you get this?”

“It was my dad’s.” Harry replied. “Come on… I wanted to take you on a private tour.” Harry guided her along heading first towards the Kitchens. They made their way carefully to the entrance hall, went down the marble steps, and turned left then went through the door that led to the Kitchen. They had to hide behind a statue when a Hufflepuff girl raced towards her dormitory so she could arrive before curfew. When the hallway was once again empty, they made their way to a large portrait of fruits. Veronica giggled as Harry tickled the pear in the portrait that hid the entrance to the Kitchens.

“This castle is fascinating!” Veronica whispered to Harry and gave him a quick kiss on the cheeks.

As they entered, Veronica was delighted by the house elves. Her duende, a Spanish elf, was different. He didn’t look like the house elves of England; instead, the magical community in that part of the country used house imps, which were similar to leprechauns, yet they were called elves. There were very few true house elves. .

“Dobby.” Harry called when he didn’t see his friend in the kitchen. Dobby appeared with a soft pop.

“Harry Potter visits Dobby, sir… Dobby is pleased to see Harry Potter,” said Dobby bowing low to Harry. He straightened up and looked towards Harry’s companion. Dobby yelped when he saw Veronica and jumped back frightened. His large green eyes held fear in them.

“Dobby what’s wrong?” Harry asked startled. Veronica too was startled by the elf’s reaction.

“M.. MM… MMMM… MMMiss. Black? But Miss Black is dead. That’s what Misses Malfoy had said… yes… dead!?” Dobby said as if he was seeing a ghost.

Comprehension dawned on Harry. “No Dobby, this is her daughter, Veronica.” Harry tried to explain.

Dobby squealed with fright and disappeared with a pop.

“What is wrong with him?” Veronica asked quite disconcerted.

“I don’t know.” Harry answered equally confused. He wondered what Veronica’s mother may have done to Dobby when she was married to Voldemort.

The mood seemed to have been ruined, so Harry decided not to stay in the Kitchens. He made a mental note to ask Dobby later about what happened. He would see the elf tomorrow morning when he prepared the early breakfast for the Gryffindors before they went to DADA in the morning.

“Hey, let’s go up to the courtyard by the Owlery,” said Harry as he wrapped the invisibility cloak around him. He opened it up for Veronica to stand next to him. They exited the Kitchen then headed towards the West Tower.

After a quick visit to the courtyard, Veronica wanted to explore more of the castle. It was almost midnight by the time Harry took Veronica to the entrance of the Ravenclaw tower.

“I had a great time,” Veronica said as she moved so she was standing in front of Harry under the invisibility cloak.

“Me too,” said Harry as he wrapped his arms around her waist. Veronica leaned up to kiss him, and their lips locked in a long kiss. They were startled by Muluc appearing on Veronica’s shoulder. She took the note that he carried on his beak. It was from her legal guardian in Nicaragua.

“What does it say?”

Veronica smiled. “Yes! I’ll be coming into my inheritance when I turn 18 and Maruan (her Legal guardian) will be out of the picture for good… oh, that’ll be so nice not having to go through him all the time! I can actually do whatever I want with my money!” she exclaimed as she folded the note.

Harry smiled at her, although he frowned a little. Veronica had never seemed so concerned about her money before, and it caught him a little off guard as she startled to rattle about things she would do with her money. One thing Harry had liked about Veronica was how down to earth she had been, and the fact that she had millions to her name had never seemed to go to her head.

“I better get to bed, we have to be up in less than five hours,” she said as she kissed him again.

“Yeah,” replied Harry. Veronica giggled at his far-off expression just before he kissed her one more time.

“I Love you,” said Veronica after their lips parted. Her eyes were sparkling, and she had an idyllic smile on her face. She looked up into Harry’s eyes. Her smile faltered a little as she realized what she had said.

Harry was caught off guard by her declaration, and immediately the words formed in his head, but for some reason he couldn’t utter them. He began to feel a certain level of panic. The moment had been perfect to tell her that he loved her too, but he had hesitated. Now it seemed too late to say it. He was also having a conflict within himself. A little voice had asked: Do you really…?

“It’s all right Harry,” said Veronica as she smiled weakly and with a sense of alarm. She felt she might have blown it. “I know it seems rather soon, but I feel that way about you. I don’t expect you to say it back, I know you care about me and when you are ready you will tell me. I better go. Chao,” Veronica said hastily, and after a quick peck on the lips, she got out of the invisibility cloak and said the password to her dormitory.

Harry stared at the door for a while. He frowned but he didn’t have much time to brood about what had just happened because he heard a noise close by. He pulled out his map to check who it was.

“I solemnly swear I am up to no good,” Harry whispered and tapped the map with his wand.

Harry saw his own figure standing by the Ravenclaw entrance. On a corridor nearby, someone was walking towards his location. Harry recognized the name, Vincent with the garbled, unreadable, last name. He didn’t want to stand around and wait to be discovered by Vincent heading for the Ravenclaw entrance. Harry certainly knew he wasn’t the only one that ever snuck out after hours. He checked that the path to Gryffindor was clear, and it was, so he quietly stole away.

“Harry!”

Harry was startled when Hermione met him in the common room. She was wearing her dressing robes. “It’s about time! I thought you’d been caught or something,” Hermione said apparently relieved to see him.

“What? Why were you so worried?”

“Professor Donovan was looking for you,” said Hermione with relief now that Harry was here.

“He was?” asked Harry worried. “What did you tell him?”

“Ron told him that you were in the showers,” Hermione answered and seemed to be relaxing a little.

“How did you see Professor Donovan?” Harry wondered since they had been back to the tower after the DA just before curfew.

“One of the portraits told us that there was a boy outside. We realized Neville forgot his password again, so Ron went to open the door for him. Anyway, Professor Donovan appeared at the top of the stairs and asked Ron if he could go get you. Ron told him you were in the showers. He left a message saying he would like to speak with you before class tomorrow,” said Hermione, “but Ron had the feeling that the Professor knew you were out of the tower.”

“Thanks Hermione. We better get to bed,” said Harry as he headed to his room. Hermione looked as if she wanted to say something, changed her mind and headed to her room.

“Good night Harry.”

“Good night Hermione.”

*****

Harry couldn’t help but yawn a lot the next morning. They had Transfiguration first thing on Thursdays, and as fascinating as the lesson was on Human Transfiguration, Harry couldn’t help but doze off. He hadn’t slept very well, nor very long this morning, and to top it off, DADA had been tough, and Harry had to get up even earlier so he could speak with Donovan before class. Hermione elbowed him a few times to wake him.

“Pay attention!” she would hiss at him, “McGonagall has noticed…”
Harry tried his best but couldn’t help it when his head nodded off again.

“Mr. Potter…”

Harry’s head snapped up.

“… since you seem to be bored, I assume it is because you already know how to perform this transfiguration, so I think we would all be delighted if you came up to the front and gave us a little demonstration,” Professor McGonagall said, her lips in the thinnest line Harry had seen for a while.

Harry gulped and nervously made his way to the front. Harry looked to Hermione who was biting her lip in trepidation.

“Mr. Weasley, since you seem to be distracted as well, why don’t you serve as Mr. Potter’s subject,” McGonagall snapped when she noticed Ron leaning over to whisper to Hermione. Ron’s face turned a deep shade of red, and he felt his ears burn. He slowly got up to his feet and went to stand opposite from Harry.

Harry was racking his brain for the incantation the he was to use. One incantation came to mind, he was sure he had just heard McGonagall talk about it. He nervously lifted his wand and pointed it at Ron. He took a deep breath. Professor McGonagall had crossed her arms as she stood in front of her desk waiting to see what kind of mess Harry would make of Ron.

“Transfigura Leo” Harry said and an orange jet shot from his wand towards Ron. The class gasped stunned. McGonagall pursed her lips and shook her head. She didn’t think it would amount to anything more than a few tufts of mane on Ron. At the same time Hermione screamed in horror, “HARRY NO!”

The students screamed in fear as a loud roar filled the classroom. Pandemonium broke loose.

“Merlin’s Beard!” McGonagall exclaimed flabbergasted as she jumped on top of her desk, away from a huge, gigantic paw that had swatted at her. She could not believe her eyes for a second. The huge tawny lion crouched, readying itself to attack Harry. Harry stood with mouth agape, frozen in shock. It all happened so fast.

The lion pounced, his huge teeth bared, snarling, and with claws unsheathed.

“FINITE!” Professor McGonagall screamed and Ron transformed back to his former self in mid-air and crashed into Harry.

“I am so sorry! I swear I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to eat you!” Ron blubbered as he tried to get up.

“POTTER! NEVER…. I NEVER!...” she could barely speak, and was white as a sheet. Then she seemed to explode, her face turning purple as she screamed. “YOU COULD HAVE KILLED SOMEONE! WE ARE TRANSFIGURING OUR HAIR TO A DIFFERENT COLOR! IF YOU HAD BEEN PAYING ATTENTION YOU WOULD HAVE HEARD ME CORRECTLY WHEN I SAID THAT TRANSFIGURING A HUMAN INTO A LARGE PREDATORY ANIMAL WAS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AS IN THE CASE OF TRANSFIGURA LEO!” McGonagall was livid.

Hermione had never seen Professor McGonagall so mad, nor Harry so red that he matched Ron’s hair.

“Report yourself to the Headmaster’s Office! Now! Potter,” McGonagall said pointing to the door. “The rest of you back to your seats!” Within seconds the class was back on their seats.

Harry even forgot to pick up his book sac as he turned on his heel and raced out of McGonagall’s classroom as fast as he could without actually running. The door slammed hard behind him, almost not even waiting for him to clear the threshold. Harry leaned against the wall for a moment trying to get his pulse down to normal.

Blimey Harry thought to himself.

“Harry?”

Harry looked up to Professor Lupin’s voice. He saw him walking around the corner in his direction. Remus had a free period right now and he was actually heading to his office to prepare for his next class.

“Remus…” Harry said involuntarily. “Er… I mean, Professor Lupin.”

Lupin smiled at Harry, then he looked puzzled. “Shouldn’t you be in class?”

“I got kicked out. In fact, I am supposed to be on my way to Professor Dumbledore’s office,” said Harry sheepishly.

Remus raised an eyebrow. He was about to speak when the door opened. Professor McGonagall seemed ready to say something to Harry, but was startled a bit to find Professor Lupin with him (although you could barely notice her startled look.).

“Ah, Remus. I heard Potter’s voice and I was going to remind him where he needs to go…”

“Yes, he just informing me he is on his way to see Dumbledore. I was going to escort him to the Headmaster’s office,” Lupin replied with a slight smile.

“Thank you Professor,” Professor McGonagall replied and went back to class.

Remus turned to Harry and said, “You can tell me on the way to Dumbledore’s.”

Harry quickly recounted what had happened in Transfiguration. Remus was surprised.

“I know, I should have been paying attention, and I almost got myself killed, eaten by Ron!” Harry said with exaggerated, frustrated, and guilty gestures. “I have never seen Professor McGonagall so livid!”

“Tell me Harry, did Professor McGonagall say anything else about Transfigura Leo?” Remus asked him.

Harry blushed. “I… I don’t know, I was falling asleep at the moment.”

They arrived at the Gargoyle statue that guarded the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. Remus spoke a password to the staircases. The gargoyle silently moved away, revealing the magic escalators.

Remus frowned slightly. “Well, than you should be at least proud of the fact that there are only five people—six counting you— in all of Europe who can actually perform that spell correctly. Minerva is one of them, and I’ve heard that it took her the better part of thirty years to finally master that spell. So her reaction probably had to do somewhat to the fact that you barely pay attention in class, then without previous knowledge of the subject you manage to transform Ron into a fully developed lion,” said Remus as he waved Harry to go on after seeing his bewildered expression. “I will see you in class on Monday,” said Remus and walked away from Harry, and chuckled. James, he’s got your talent. You would be proud…

Harry stared after Remus for a while until he disappeared. Finally he blinked and closed his mouth. It took her thirty years to master the spell? Thirty years!

“Ah, Harry. I received a note from Minerva saying she had sent you my way…”

Harry turned around to see Professor Dumbledore exiting the entrance to his office.

“I’m sorry Harry, but I have an urgent matter to attend to. We will have to discuss this at a later time I’m afraid,” Dumbledore said to Harry who still couldn’t find words to speak after what Remus had said to him. The bell rang signaling the end of class.

“Run along now, but please do try to stay awake during class Harry,” Dumbledore said and left a flabbergasted Harry behind. Dumbledore turned around. “And Harry? In the future, you may wish to turn in earlier so you can achieve a full night’s rest,” Dumbledore smiled at him, turned around, and headed down to the Kitchens.

Harry watched Professor Dumbledore get lost amidst the students who were coming out of their classrooms. Dumbledore seemed to always know almost everything.
He saw Ron and Hermione coming towards him. Ron was carrying his book bag for him.

“Harry! I can’t believe…”

Harry put a hand up to stop Hermione. “I know… Professor Lupin explained it to me.”

Ron looked between the two not quite sure what they were talking about. It was as if they could read each others mind.

“So, what did Professor Dumbledore say?” Ron asked intrigued.

“He was actually on his way out, so he didn’t have time for me. He said that we will talk later and to make sure I pay attention in class and turn in to bed early next time.”

“I don’t know how you get away with it Harry,” Hermione said shaking her head.

Harry couldn’t help but grin.

****

Late afternoon, Harry was lounging in the common room waiting for Ron to return. He had just returned from spending the afternoon with Veronica.

“Hey Crookshanks,” Harry said to the ginger cat as he jumped on his lap and began to purr.

Harry scratched behind the cats ears. He winced as Crookshanks began to knead his thighs with his claws.

‘Prrreow’

Harry chuckled. He always smiled when Crookshanks attempted to meow when he was purring at the same time. “You must be hungry?” Harry said to the cat, as the cat rubbed against his chest, suddenly filling Harry’s face with his bottlebrush tail.

“Hey,” Harry said pulling the tail aside. “Where is Hermione anyway?” Harry said as he continued to pet the cat. “Hermione!” Harry said jumping to his feet throwing Crookshanks from his lap. Crookshanks didn’t appreciate the gesture.

‘Phzzzzzz’ The cat hissed at Harry, his ears flattened.

“Hermione is going to kill me!” Harry said as he raced to the portrait hole. The portrait swung open and Harry raced out colliding into Hermione. Books, quills, ink bottles, parchments, and all sorts of things flew out of Hermione’s arms and bag and scattered everywhere.

“Oh God, I am so sorry Hermione!” Harry said when he heard her grunt.

“Where were you?” She hotly demanded. Harry couldn’t quite see her face since his glasses had flown out of his face. He could hear in her voice that she was not pleased. He had completely forgotten about their Transfiguration Project meeting, and they were presenting tomorrow.

Harry blushed embarrassed as he felt around the floor for his glasses. Hermione stood up and began to shove things into her bag. She seemed really angry. “I waited for three hours. THREE HOURS! You could at least send me a note or tell me you don’t plan on showing up…” She continued as she accioed her things that had rolled down the starilwell, “... and to top it all I hear from Parvati that you have been with Veronica all afternoon patrolling the hallways! I thought that maybe something really important had come up to detain you from helping me finish the project…”

“Hermione, I’m sorry… I completely forgot…”

Hermione said a few choice words that made the Portrait Lady gasp. Harry blinked stupidly at her. Hermione was not one to curse. “…I TOLD YOU WHEN WE LEFT HERBOLOGY WHERE I WAS GOING! YOU SAID YOU’D BE THERE IN 1 HOUR…” Hermione screamed completely losing her temper, “IF IT WASN’T FOR THE FACT THAT MY MARKS DEPEND ON THIS PROJECT AS MUCH AS YOURS I WOULDN’T HAVE BOTHERED TO FINISH IT ALL! INCLUDING YOUR PART!” She said as she slammed a few parchments on the floor in front of Harry, who was still looking for his glasses. He hadn’t thought of accioing them yet, and Hermione was not in the mood to help him.

“Memorize all that, and you better be ready tomorrow! DON’T SCREW THIS UP! We will practice during break when I return from my Arithmancy class tomorrow,” she said and entered the portrait hole. People had stopped to watch them afraid of making a move and having Hermione turn on them.

“Harry?” Ron said once Hermione had disappeared inside. “Bloody Hell, I’ve haven’t seen Hermione that mad before. What did you do?” Ron asked helping Harry to his feet.

“I really screwed up,” Harry replied. He felt terribly bad that he’d stood up Hermione on this project, but he also couldn’t help but feel that she was overreacting.

“I’ll say,” Ron added picking up the parchments that Hermione had slammed on the floor.

“Have you seen my glasses?” Harry asked squinting. He could hear the murmur of people going by who had witnessed the whole thing and couldn’t help but feel his ears turn hot, and his face was boiling. He really felt guilty, and he also felt that Hermione was justified in her anger. She had been pestering him forever to get that project finished, and one way or another Harry had managed to convince her to put it off, at least his part. It was no easy feat, she had done most of her share, and he still had his to finish. They had agreed to take the whole afternoon to do it today, and she had been nagging him all week to not forget. And what does he do? He completely forgets about it!

“Here,” Ron said handing Harry his glasses.

“Thanks.” Harry said and put them on.

“Come on,” Ron called to him as he said the password to the Fat Lady (Bubbleblast gum)

“I’d rather not go in there,” Harry said not quire ready to confront Hermione again.

Ron stuck his head in to the common room and scanned the area for a while. “She’s not in here. She must have gone to her room,” Ron said to Harry. Harry simply nodded and followed after Ron. Harry headed straight up to his room. When it was time for dinner, Harry and Ron headed to the Great Hall. They had waited for Hermione for a little bit, but she wasn’t in the common room. They noticed that she was missing from the Gryffindor table as well.

Harry sat next to Neville. He was holding his Remembrall and was concentrating hard trying to remember what it is that he had obviously forgotten. The Remembrall was glowing scarlet in Neville’s hand.

“Hi Neville,”

“Oh, Hello Harry. You wouldn’t happen to know by any chance what it is that I am forgetting, do you?” Neville asked looking hopeless.

“Erm, let’ see. Anything related to class?”

Neville thought for a minute. “Nope, I have all of my coursework done, project is done, essay is done. That’s not it,” he said as he still gazed at his Remembrall which hadn’t changed colour, meaning that he still was forgetting something.

“How about something for today? Were you supposed to be anywhere tonight?” Ron piped in as he picked a honey glazed roll and took a bite.

“Mmmm, nope.”

“Did you forget to feed Trevor?” Parvati, who was sitting next to Ron asked. It had become a routine for the sixth year Gryffindors to help Neville when he forgot something.

“No, Hermione reminded me earlier about that,” Neville answered still pensive. Harry’s stomach fell to his feet at the mention of her name, and he noticed even more that she wasn’t there.

“Oi! I know! You forgot to go to Potions!” Fred exclaimed and the color drained from Neville’s face.

“Fred, that’s not nice! You were there Neville, remember Malfoy got rat brain splattered all over his robes?” Ron said after glaring at Fred.

Neville sighed relieved. “That’s right; I forgot to add the powdered hoal root before I stirred the potion twice. That reminds me! I have detention with Snape tomorrow night!” Neville exclaimed and hoped that the Remembrall would clear. It was still shining crimson.

“What are you guys doing?” Lavender asked joining the group.

“We’re trying to figure what Neville forgot,” Parvati answered.

“Oh, so sorry I’m late Neville. You asked me in Herbology today to remind you to write a letter to your grandmother about some plant or other,” Lavender said as she sat down.

“That’s it!” Neville exclaimed and grinned as the smoke inside his Remembrall returned to white. Neville stood up. “I better go before I forget!” He said as he pulled a little notepad from his pocket. He took a little pen that was tied to it by a string.

“What’s this?” George asked pointing to the items in Neville’s hand.

“Dean gave me these,” Neville replied as he scribbled ‘Write letter to grandmother’.
“It’s a Muggle ‘notepad’ and an ink ‘pen’; this is like parchment but it’s held together with this coiled wire thingy, and this ‘pen’ is like a self inking quill. He suggested I write down things when I remember them; that way I can check off the list or check when I forget something. It fits in my pocket nicely,” he showed them as he pocketed the notepad. “It works really nice when I remember to use it,” he added sheepishly.

“Uhm, Neville?”

“Yes?”

“Letter to Grandmother?”

“Oh yeah, right. I’ll see you guys later,” Neville said blushing as he left to go to the common room.

It was time for Harry to go to detention with Professor Donovan. As he left, Harry noticed that Hermione hadn’t showed up for dinner at all. He supposed she was still mad at him. He hoped to catch her when he returned to the common room. He would probably not sleep tonight if he had to memorize all of that stuff Hermione had thrown at him today. It was going to be a long night.

Harry didn’t see Hermione for the rest of the night, nor was she at the table during breakfast on Friday morning. Ron had helped Harry memorize all, or as much, of the information in his presentation; but Harry had to make little index cards with points, and things to remember. They waited for Hermione so they could go to Care of Magical creatures together, but they had finally gone ahead. She was already there, and completely ignored Harry while she spoke with Ron. People were giving Harry sideway glances, then heads would get together and he could hear whispers.

It completely irritated him that people always wanted to gossip about what he had done. Harry followed Hermione at a distance and in silence as they headed back to the common room.

“Are you ready?” She finally asked once they reached the common room and she had set out the easels with the posters, charts, and other stuff.

“Erm, I think so… I mean, yeah…” Harry corrected when he received a glare from Hermione. It was obvious that the only reason she was speaking to him was because of the project.

“Right, I’ll start of with the introduction; I’ll state the purpose of the study and then you…” She said waiting for him to speak.

Harry flipped through his index cards… “Erm, I’ll begin explaining about the history of the spell…”

“Correct, then I’ll demonstrate the incantation, and explain the wand movement and its variations, and you?”

“I’ll then go on about what happens if you make a mistake… erm, let’s see… known cases of backfired attempts… ahm, yeah, then I’ll go over this diagram…”

Harry noticed that Hermione’s expression seemed to soften a little. Perhaps she was feeling better that Harry wasn’t going to completely screw this up.

“All right, we have about 25 minutes, so let’s go over the whole presentation. We were to keep it under 10 minutes. Let’s start,” Hermione said and began the presentation.

Harry nervously flipped through his cards, and fumbled through his part. He could see Hermione become more upset as the time dwindled.

“NO NO NO! Seventeeth Century, for God’s sake!” Hermione screamed stopping Harry for the tenth time in the last two minutes.

“Will you just shut up and let me finish!”

“You are going to screw it all up! My marks depend on this as much as yours! If you hadn’t been wasting your TIME YESTERDAY…” Hermione barked back at Harry, but Harry screamed back at her… his time with his girlfriend was not a waste!

“Come off it! It’s not like we’re going to fail, and McGonagall will clearly award you more points than me…”

“AS IF! WE’RE SUPPOSED TO WORK ON THIS TOGETHER! THIS IS A TEAM PROJECT, IF YOU DIDN’T WANT TO WORK ON IT YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME AND I WOULD HAVE DONE IT MYSELF! OH WAIT, THAT’S RIGHT, I DID DO IT MYSELF AND IF…”

“YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO BE SUCH A GODDAMMED INSUFERABLE KNOW-IT-ALL!!!”
Harry bellowed at her, the common room became uncommonly silent as everyone turned to stare at the pair. Harry was sorry the moment the words left his mouth.
Hermione breathed hard, blinking, trying to stop the tears that threatened.

“Fine!” She said through gritted teeth and began to stuff her bag. “Fine!” she said a bit louder and Harry could hear the strain in her voice. “FINE!” She finally screamed at him, and picked up their presentation things.

“Hermione, I’m sor…”

“F*** YOU!” she screamed at him enraged and threw the easel, and posters and notes in his face, grabbed her school bag and stormed out of the common room.

Ron ran over to Hermione to try and stop her, but she yanked her arm away from him and shrilled a few things at him that made him stop and look at her incredulous. She ran out of the Portrait hole.

Ron came over to Harry who for the second time was on the floor, stunned after Hermione’s departure.

“I didn’t mean it,” Harry said in a quiet voice as he stood up.

“I know, mate” Ron said as he helped Harry pick up the things for the presentation.

Hermione ran out of the common room, not even bothering with the people that stood in her way. She only managed to make it down to the sixth floor and darted into a deserted corridor. She leaned against the wall and cried. After a while, she looked at her watch, and saw that she had five minutes to get to Transfiguration. She wiped her tears furiously, and began to walk away towards the staircase leading down to the East Wing. She didn’t notice the blond boy smirking, who was casually leaning against the wall behind a statue of armour.

Malfoy lazily flicked his wand towards her retreating back. He muttered the tripping jinx, and watched with satisfaction as Hermione fumbled forward. Instead of falling flat on her face, Hermione stumbled a few steps, obviously fighting the jinx. She teetered over the edge of the staircase, her arms flailing trying to balance herself. Hermione screamed as she finally fell over and rolled down the steps. She came to a stop in the middle landing, opened her eyes and saw the outline of a person at the top of the stairs, but her vision was blurry and she couldn’t see who it was.

“Help,” she managed to croak, but the person gasped, turned around and fled. Darkness suddenly engulfed her.

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